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1920 SOCIALIST ANTI-WALL STREET CANDIDATE CARTOON BY ROBERT MINOR




"Wall Street's Choice: A Labor-Riding Candidate - If Not General Wood Some One Just As Good"
1920 / Lithographic crayon and ink washes on paper / 13" x 17"


An opportunity to acquire an important original work by the radical political artist Robert Minor.

"Fighting Bob" Minor's work had an extremely strong influence on political cartoonists. His formidable compositional skills were enhanced by his use of unconventional media such as lithographic crayon and ink washes. The intense black of a grease crayon is perfectly suited to gestural drawings, and soon other cartoonists began using similar media.

This work is a powerful example of his distinctive signature graphic style.



ABOUT THE WORK

Published on the cover of the June 1, 1920 issue of Art Young's Good Morning magazine, with the caption "Wall Street's Choice - A Labor-Riding Candidate - If Not General Wood Some One Just As Good," it depicts General Leonard Wood maniacally riding, bull-whipping and spurring an allegorical laborer.

Wood was an active-duty Army commander who was the front-running candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1920.

It is interesting to note that the original art bears a more harshly worded version of the caption authored by Art Young himself, and in his hand: "The Strike-Breaker Candidate - After getting his in the primaries Gen. Wood goes back to his regular job of Labor-killing."

This drawing originated from Art Young's personal art archive. It is also in better condition than many examples of Minor's work. The Library of Congress needed to do restoration work on pieces from the Goldstein Collection. This one has been stored properly and has never been glued to backing.



ABOUT THE TIMES

It was a time that has been referred to as the "Great Red Scare." Many times in American history, military heroes have used their fame to launch a run for the White House. In 1919, America had been in a domestic war of sorts and the government sought to expel foreign radicals it believed endangered the nation. As public fear of radicalism grew, there were politicians who sought to boost their political prospects by becoming heroes of the Great Red Scare of 1919. General Wood was one of them.

Wood had led Army troops into areas in the Midwest with problems with labor unrest and the violence that ensued. When 35,000 steelworkers went on strike in Gary, Indiana, Wood and his troops restored order in that city by imposing martial law and blamed the disorder on a conspiracy of foreign radicals.

He stressed the nativist Americanism that had become popular during WWI and was reviled by Socialists and other left-wing leaders who saw him as the monied elite's "muscle" against the struggles of workers trying to eke out a more fair labor deal.



OTHER WORKS BY ROBERT MINOR IN GOOD MORNING

Minor did several other memorable cartoons for Good Morning, two on the subject of General Wood. One sarcastically depicts him as literally a wooden "blockhead" and the other as a rampaging monster.





Art Young also ran Minor's simple and brilliant depiction of Britain preparing to hang Ireland.






OTHER WORKS BY ROBERT MINOR ELSEWHERE

These two cartoons ran in The Masses in 1916. "Pittsburgh 1916," which was acquired by the Library of Congress in 1993, is an iconic representation of the violence unleashed by the union struggles of the era.

The second is titled "Army Medical Examiner: At Last A Perfect Soldier!" and depicts a military officer admiring a headless WWI recruit, a wry comment on the crackdown on dissent over United States participation in the War.